Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Penny Drop, Box Hill by Bureaucrat

There's a lot to love about The Penny Drop.  A relatively new cafe, The Penny Drop has got foodies and locals abuzz with its creative Asian-fusion brunch menu and effortlessly elegant decor.  What's most amazing about this place is that it's managed to do this right in the heart of Box Hill - a suburb known for its glut of Asian cheap eats.  The Penny Drop has brought middle-class sensibilities and chicness in dining options for the area without sticking out like a sore thumb.

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, pork belly rice burger
Rice burger with forbidden rice, pork belly, kohlrabi and apple slaw and tsuyu sauce

Located in the same building as the Australian Tax Office (don't let that deter you from coming!), The Penny Drop is a beautiful space - super high ceilings with ceiling-to-floor windows give the cafe grandeur and lightness.  The soft pink theme is paired with wooden and warm golden finishes.  And unlike many cafes of its ilk, there is comfortable, spacious seating (hooray!) and the background music is, shock, actually in the background!  While there is a definite buzz to the place, there is no need to shout to your dining companions in order to have a conversation. 

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, celery juice
For a weekend brunch, we turned up at 10:30am and managed to score a table without waiting (however, I did spy a reservations list - so it is possible to book a table, which is a definitely 'plus' in my book).  For drinks, Beaker went for the celery juice, the Lawyer and I went for soy chai lattes and Boy Chick got a milkshake.

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, soft shell crab benedict
The menu features Asian-fusion brunch options.  All of the dishes sound very intriguing and make a welcome change from the usual poached eggs/smashed avo combinations you see around town.  We all thought that the Lawyer's Mr Ssam Benedict was the best dish of the day.  Deep fried soft shell crab perched on a spring onion pancake that was loaded with beanshoot salad and topped with poached eggs and kim chi hollandaise.

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, soy chai lattes
Soy chai lattes

I went for the rice burger with forbidden rice, pork belly, kohlrabi and apple slaw and tsuyu sauce (see first pic).  We were all intrigued with the forbidden rice.  These were reddish-purpley sticky rice and apart from the colour, I couldn't discern what made them 'forbidden'.  The tsuyu sauce really lifts the whole dish with its sweet-salty-umami flavour.  It provides a lovely contrast to the soft sticky rice, the squishy braised pork belly and the crunchy slaw.

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, squid san choi bao
Beaker went for the squid san choi bao with tomatoes, beanshoots, glass noodles and nam chim.  She loved the freshness of the dish but wished it was a bigger serving.

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, chicken and chips
There's also a decent kids' menu.  For Boy Chick, I ordered the chicken and chips.  This was surprisingly good (most kids' menu are rather lacklustre in terms of options and quality).  There was a generous amount of chunky chicken breast (nicely seasoned and not greasy) and chips.  After Boy Chick had has his fill, all of the adults couldn't wait to snaffle up the rest of his meal!

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, milkshake
Vanilla milkshake

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, carrot cake
There's also a selection of cakes on offer and it didn't take too much convincing for us to try a few.  The carrot cake was light and fluffy.

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, passion fruit slice
I really enjoyed the passion fruit slice, which we got as a takeaway item.  It was beautifully tart and creamy... yum!

The Penny Drop, Box Hill

The Penny Drop, Box Hill


We loved it
We loved it.
Mid value
Mid value.


Wow - what a fabulous cafe in Box Hill!  These are words I thought I'd never say!  Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.  And my gosh, if I were still working as a bureaucrat, I'd be checking for jobs at the ATO just so I can have this as my local cafe.

Service is friendly and prompt - they didn't seem to mind Boy Chick rambling his way through the place.  I would suggest to make a booking as while we were there, we saw a few people being turned away as the place was full.

The only minor area for improvement is that it took a while for our food to come out.  It got to the point where we'd got all excited as we saw a waiter approach us with plates of food only for it to be served to the tables near us.  But this really was a minor thing when you consider all the many good things that The Penny Drop does well.

The Eat and Be Merry Crew were guests of The Penny Drop.

Find it at

The Penny Drop
913 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill VIC 3128
Phone: (03) 9077 7455

The Penny Drop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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